23 Goals for the New Year

Following along with my planning structure from previous years, I’m setting 23 goals for the year ahead (with a slight twist).

I find both the practice of sitting down to think through potential goals + executing on those ideas to be highly motivational and positive. I tend to set the bar low and make sure to give myself partial credit where applicable. Also, I’m perfectly content to take a second look at goals that no longer align with my priorities.

Before I jump in, here is a post I wrote last year about Why I Set Annual Goals, How I Measure Them, and What I’m Going to Tweak Next Year.

Here’s my 2021 Goal Recap + 2022 Forecasting and my 2022 Goal Recap.

goals for 2023

  1. Track my visits with Mom and Dad. At first I thought of setting a specific goal – say, sharing a warm beverage at their place once a week. But instead, I’m opting to simply track our time together. I have a little notebook I’ve tucked into the front of my daytimer, and I record the date and what we did together. I’ve got a headstart on this goal since they arrived in late November for their 4-month stint of living down the street. I’ve found that when I track/monitor things, it makes me more aware of the choices I’m making with my time. Often, this is enough to spur me to action. I know we’ll see each other frequently, but already I’ve found that having this added layer of record-keeping makes me more grateful to have them temporarily nearby + inspires me to make room for as many opportunities to spend time together as possible.
  2. Plan our summer. June – September 2022 was a tough period for me mentally; it was an odd assortment of challenges all converging at once. But I stopped planning (it almost felt pointless – never knowing when a contractor was going to show up, or when a recurrent tough interpersonal relationship in our neighbourhood would impact my day) and I think that contributed to my overwhelm. I want to use my planner all summer and be intentional about maintaining some semblance of structure through those vacation months.
  3. Get laser eye surgery. This is a big, expensive goal. I went for a consult years ago – before I was pregnant with Levi. It was simply too expensive at the time and I’m okay that it didn’t pan out. But I truly hate glasses. I have a very strong prescription so new glasses are expensive and I can’t see anything without them. While swimming makes me cold, I think part of my misery is the fact that everything is blurry without my glasses. I need new prescription glasses + sunglasses + an eye exam. Together those would be well over $1,000. So why not invest that into corrective surgery? Both my sisters have had laser eye surgery and love the results…[Feedback welcome from anyone with firsthand experience with corrective eye surgery.]
  4. Do some exterior landscaping on our back/side yard. Now that many of the “must-do” and “want-to-do” renovations inside are complete, it’s time to tackle the outside. Our yard is a blank slate; we had to excavate years ago to improve drainage and sadly had to rip up all the existing hardscaping + cut down four trees. I don’t love the thought of more decisions, but I think it will significantly boost the curb appeal of our house and also make our outdoor environment more pleasant and usable.
  5. Go see the summer production by a local theatre company. For years, John and I went to a local theatre’s annual summer performance. The performances are all outside and of top quality. Even before COVID, we had missed a year or two. I don’t feel the need to declare this an annual tradition, but I would like to go this summer. They put on two plays each season, one of which is performed around a bonfire at night. Very fun.
  6. Get away – solo with John – to a new destination. Barring catastrophe, we are booked for a 2023 trip to Rome. It won’t be balmy (I did love our one and only trip South in March of 2019), but it should be warmer than Canada!
  7. Run 10 km. This is it. No race. No time. Just a goal to, at some point, run 10 km.
  8. Hang something over the couch. This is a carry-over goal from 2 years ago. I really want a mirror in this space, I think? We have plenty of art elsewhere in this room, and then a giant bare patch over the couch that has been empty for years. It irks me…
  9. Get a pedicure. Someone gifted me a pedicure over the summer and I’d love to do it again. I think I’d opt for the cheaper option (and skip the foot massage; it was fine, but also $$$). I was amazed at how long the polish stayed in place and it never chipped.
  10. Get a duvet cover and insert. We don’t use a top sheet, and I currently wash our huge comforter in the washing machine which isn’t ideal. It’s showing its age, and it’s time to upgrade to a duvet, so I can easily machine wash the cover. [Suggestions of a great insert welcome; ideally one that has ties so the duvet doesn’t slip down.]
  11. Paint/makeover Abby’s room. She doesn’t complain about her space, but it is dated and really could use a facelift. The carpet is old and industrial looking, but in good shape, and I think that will stay; ripping it up would initiate a cascade of more expensive renovations like replacing baseboards and sourcing new flooring + labour for the install, and having to move EVERYTHING out of her room. But I think paint and some fresh display options for her walls will be a very inexpensive – but dramatic – improvement.
  12. Enroll Levi in swimming lessons. He has had one swimming lesson his entire life (the first issue was COVID – then when lessons started again, he broke his wrist the day after his first lesson while playing soccer and that was the end of that). He also runs cold, like me, so didn’t get as much swimming in (with a life jacket) at my parent’s place on the lake as I anticipated. We bought him two second-hand wetsuits, so I’m hoping that will offset his tendency to run cold.
  13. Order my 2022 photobook. I list this every year and I know I’ll do it!
  14. Read the Lord of the Rings Trilogy OR a trio of old classics (thinking: Jane Eyre, Pride and Prejudice, Wuthering Heights) OR the complete Chronicles of Narnia series. Not sure which I’ll choose. I own all these books (aside from Wuthering Heights).
  15. Go see a musical. Either locally – or on Broadway if we happened to make it back to NYC. I love musicals, and I think seeing a musical would be a great annual goal for me (though that’s unlikely to happen)!
  16. Make a new friend. Not sure what constitutes a new friend (i.e. how close do we have to be?), but it would be interesting to track any new friendships that develop over the next 12 months.
  17. Try three “new-to-me” eating establishments in our local area. I’m not a huge fan of eating out. I have a hard time spending the money and easily get decision fatigue (I’m like a deer-in-headlights every time I see a new menu; so many choices! what if I make the wrong one?!). But it can be fun and three feels like enough to constitute a goal, without feeling overwhelming (e.g. trying a new place every single month).
  18. Take each child on a special solo date. This is a repeat goal from 2022 (which I did successfully), and I think it deserves an annual slot on my goals list.
  19. Buy a new nude bra. The one I’m currently using was purchased before Levi was born. So the necessity of this goal should be apparent!
  20. Use my fancy dishes. I didn’t know how to properly categorize this goal (and my dishes are not really “fancy”). I have several lovely pottery bowls by a local artist; I have a very pretty wooden salad bowl. But these items rarely see the light of day. Why? What am I saving them for? This goal can radiate out, too. Use the nice candle. Set out the nice towels. Use the wonderful-smelling hand cream I ration for no good reason.
  21. A goal to be added, upon reflection, in March 2023.
  22. A goal to be added, upon reflection, in June 2023.
  23. A goal to be added, upon reflection, in September 2023.

My last three goals are to be determined. Life happens, things change, and I thought it would be interesting to have designated pause points for me to come up with new additions to the list, armed with relevant information from the previous months. Potential ideas: take tennis lessons, read through the New Testament, go on a getaway with some girlfriends, be a guest on a podcast. We’ll see where the year takes us.

And there you have it – my tentative list for 2023!

Your turn. Do you make goals for the year? If you set out with specific goals for 2022, how are you faring? Do you have a favourite goal from the past that you’re most proud of pursuing? Any suggestions for potential goals I should consider?

Header photo by Content Pixie on Unsplash

37 thoughts on “23 Goals for the New Year”

  1. Oh that’s a lovely list! My list is still in progress but is a similar mix of personal, house, kids stuff etc. I also need artwork above the couch, mostly to disguise my son’s pal running a vehicle across the newly painted wall.

    I had laser eye surgery when I was 23 and 15 years later, I wear glasses at the computer but not for everyday life.

    I find the tracking things really helpful, I keep a count of social events, books read to kiddo etc etc. It’s so lucky to have that stint with your parents. My parents moved from the US to Southern Europe last year and just the regular visits (we’re in the UK) make everything better. My son seems so much more connected to them with the shorter but far more regular visits.

    1. I wish I had gotten the surgery earlier, but it made sense to wait until I was done having kiddos and when I had my first consult the price tag was enough to make me punt this into the future. So the best time to do it would have been a decade ago; the second best time is now!

      I agree – those short, regular interactions with grandparents are so uniquely special. They get to be a part of everyday life and I am just so thankful for this opportunity for my kids (and my parents) to develop this special bond.

  2. I have feedback!!! I got LASIK back in 2000, and it was one of the best decisions I ever made. I had quite bad vision and it was really great. The surgeon told me that I would probably need reading glasses in my 40s – which is true, I use them now – but I was 25 when I had them done and it was absolutely life-changing. If you can swing it, you really should – it’s so great to wake up in the morning and, you know, read the numbers on the clock. Or go to the beach and not worry about sand in your contact lens or be able to swim without being blind. I was so very happy with my results, and if you have eyes like I did you will be too.

    I like all these goals! 2023 is going to be a year of Very Big Change for me, and to be honest, it worries me a bit. There is going to be a lot of upheaval but I am trying to remain calm about it all. *breathes into paper bag*

    Merry Christmas, Elisabeth!

    1. I can’t imagine being able to see my alarm clock. Or my toes when I’m at the beach. I’m used to being “blind” but also…it never feels fun to constantly need glasses. I cannot imagine life without them, but I’d LOVE to imagine life without them.

      I know you have a big year ahead; change is hard, but it can also bring unexpected joys, too. So I sincerely hope in amidst the challenges that change can present, you’re surprised by many blessings, too <3

  3. This is a great list, and great idea to leave three TBD. I also want the Lasik surgery!!! I wear contacts, but the older I get the drier my eyes get and the contacts are frequently uncomfortable. Well, I hope you do it and can tell me all about it.
    I love the idea of tacking your time with your parents. Sometimes things just all run together in a big blur, but recording the time you spend with them will make those times more distinctive and special. You are so lucky to have them nearby this winter!

    1. I hate, hate, hate wearing contacts. I did for a while when I was in university, but I have easily irritated eyes (lots of seasonal allergies, or if I wear mascara), and contacts were just never a good solution for me. I do regret not getting it done earlier (best bang for buck)…but I’m really, really ready to not have glasses.

      Yes! I am so fortunate they are able to be nearby. It’s a win, win for us all, and just tracking our time together has been a special addition to the experience.

  4. I love these goals and how broad-ranging they are! I’m trying to be more organized with my goals this year after a newfound commitment to tracking so I’m finalizing my list over the next week (but leaving space for a quarterly trade out because you have to leave room for life to do what it does).

    1. I hope you blog about your goals! I’d love to see them (obviously no pressure to do this, but I find these lists inspiring!).
      I’ve never left blank spaces before, but I think it will be a fun twist to my annual goal-setting experience.

  5. Can’t wait to hear about the eye surgery! I also have a very high prescription and I’ve thought about it, but there’s still a part of me that’s nervous they will mess it up. I’ve worn glasses for over 35 years so I’m used to it – but it would be great to not have to deal with glasses. These all look like great goals, and achievable.

    1. I’ve worn glasses since I was 7? So it is all I can remember. But I truly hate glasses. The fog up. They’re dirty and smudged all the time. And I find them such a nuisance for physical activities.

      And yes – I really wanted every goal to feel achievable and not critical, either. Like, if we don’t landscape, it’s not the end of the world. There are no broad life-improvement goals here that I’ll feel bad about not sticking with for the long haul.

  6. Both my parents had lasik, and so did many, many others in my life (including my husband) – all have had wonderful things to say about it! I’m not sure if that is the surgery you personally qualify for (you said you have a bad prescription – I do too, so I don’t qualify for most laser eye surgeries because of the (lack of) thickness of my corneas – my glasses prescription is -11.5 though so most “bad” eyesight is way better than mine!) – a coworker of mine had a more invasive type of surgery done which had a longer recovery but she still is glad she did it. The only type I would qualify for is similar to cataract surgery so I’ll just wait on that. It is SO expensive to get contacts, glasses, etc that I know it would pay off probably within a couple years, especially with how much lasik has gone down in price over the years. My dad got his about 20 years ago – both of my parents need reading glasses, but my husband doesn’t yet and he’s 40.

    Those sound like great goals! I am anti-goal, myself – I never set them, and when I’m forced to at work, they just annoy me. (In case anyone wants to psychoanalyze this – I’m a rebel on the 4 tendencies, a Capricorn, enneagram 8, and ESTJ but I promise I’m a very nice person lol). I hope they provide you with the motivation/feedback you desire 🙂

    1. I may have to consider wavefront. When I had my consult almost a decade ago, I was a candidate, and my prescription hasn’t gotten much worse since then…but we’ll see what they say.
      And yes – I don’t have any private coverage for eye-related expenses, so OOP expenses are VERY high for me. In reality, new glasses and new sunglasses (I’ve had my sunglasses for 5+ years and I’ve hated them the whole time – horrible frames and didn’t get the lenses ground down to save money), could easily be $1,000-$1,500. I know there are lots of much cheaper options, too, with some online services and I know many people that rave about their experience. But, at the end of the day, I JUST DON’T WANT GLASSES ANYMORE! I know some people love the way glasses make their face look and how they feel wearing them…not me.

      I read the first line of your second paragraph and was screaming Gretchen Rubin Rebel inside my head…and then you came out and said it yourself. Ha. This is great that you know your personality so well. I’m a Questioner, with a few Rebel and Obliger tendancies. I think from the outside a few people might think I’m an Upholder, but I’m really not…

  7. Phil had lasik surgery years ago and was so happy with it. I looked into it awhile ago but like a commenter above, I am not eligible due to the thickness of my corneas. But I used daily contacts and they work super well for me. They are expensive, but I use my FSA (flexible spending account – which is pre-tax money) to pay for my contacts. My vision actually improved slightly this year. My eye doctor said I’m at the stage of life where my far sightedness will slightly improve and I will start to struggle w/ near sightedness. But that has yet to happen. I loathe wearing glasses so much so am glad that contacts work great for me! I only wear glasses in the evening, maybe for 1-2 hours.

    I love your set of goals. I think I did 19 in 2019 and haven’t set goals since then. I am still in a state of life where I don’t feel I have the bandwidth to ask much more of myself. I am going to try to be more intentional about reaching out to people in 2023 – using Laura’s “3 times/week is a habit” rule. I will see how sustainable that is in the first couple of months of the year but it shouldn’t be too much work to text or send an email to 3 different people/week. I would like to try to connect in person with 1 person/month. That is a pretty low goal, especially when the warmer weather arrives and we are out and about more. It’s trickier in the winter when it can be dangerously cold outside, like it is right now!

    1. I hated contacts, so they were never going to be a long-term solution. I tried so many brands, too. But I’m really tired of glasses after ~30 years of wearing them every single day.

      Laura’s 3 time/week habit rule is how I started this blog, so I’m a huge fan of this approach.

      Hope you get some warmer weather soon! It’s shockingly balmy where I live; we’re in for a major rainstorm on Christmas Eve with a high of about 14C (~60F). So it doesn’t look like a white Christmas will be in the cards for us this year.

  8. Honestly, I’ve only known two people who have gotten lasik and both of them were back to full-time glasses or contacts within a few years, so I’ve never really thought about doing it. I suspect the procedure has gotten better over time and results are better, but it’s never crossed my mind. I’m also okay with wearing contacts and I like the accessorizing that’s possible to do with eyeglasses, so it’s never been a consideration for me. I will be following your story closely, though, because maybe it might be something for me to consider if it would save money in the long run.

    As you know, I set quarterly goals instead of yearly ones. I feel like if I set yearly goals I would just…not do them? Like I’d have to check in monthly with them to make any progress or I’d just forget all about them. LOL. I will say that the goals I’ve had about tracking things HAVE really made me more intentional about them, particularly if I’m tracking daily. Just tracking means you do it more often, even if you don’t have a goal to actually do it more often. It’s a clever workaround!

    1. Interesting! I have to admit I’ve only known people who have liked the procedure, but recognize that reading glasses become a thing eventually…and I’m doing this much later than would have been ideal.
      Contacts really, really bother my eyes because of the curvature of my corneas, so it is glasses only for me at this point.

      Tracking is key for me.

  9. A friend of mine had Lasik years ago and now needs reading glasses. From what I understand your eyesight continues to change. But, she made it to just about 20 years before needing reading glasses. I’ve thought about Lasik but never even went for a consult after Googling it. That was my mistake. I don’t want to know HOW it gets done prior to actually getting it done – which is my philosophy on most medical procedures.

    I have a recommendation on a duvet! I bought this one over the summer and love it. It has the ties you are looking for. I was dubious that the ties would actually keep the comforter in place but they do.


    1. Yes, I know that reading glasses will be needed eventually, but to be able to go swimming or head out on a run and NOT need to mess around with glasses sounds amazing.

      Thanks for the recommendation on the duvet. I’ll report back!

  10. My brother had Lasik twenty years ago. He said his favorite thing was that it made travelling so much easier. He does still wear glasses at night, though this has been a recent development.
    Seeing you lay it out, Lasik does make financial sense, but I’m rather attached to my glasses. I actually like being able to have the world be blurry sometimes.
    What a great list of goals for 2023! I love how *manageable* they all seem. And the built in flexibility to add more goals later in the year- that’s so smart!
    Jane Eyre is my favorite book! I love it so much, though both my Husband and one of my best friends didn’t care for it and as I get older I do see how problematic the hero can read. (My friend and I have a long standing argument about Jane Eyre vs Wuthering Heights. There are feeeeelings about this!) I’m thinking of re-reading Jane Eyre this winter since I’m currently reading a biography of the Bronte family. I loved book 1 and 2 of Lord of the Rings, but book 2 was kind of a slog.

    1. Oh, it would be SO much easier with traveling. I always, always, always, worry I’ll break my glasses when I’m away from home. What then?! My Mom always loved to take her glasses off at Christmas time and sit on the couch and watch the tree. There is something magical about how all the twinkle lights blur. That said, I think I’d rather be able to see clearly the other 11 months of the year!

      Yes to being manageable.

      I haven’t read Jane Eyre in almost a decade. But I loved it (a lot more than Wuthering Heights). I’ve read through the LOTR series twice, but it has also been almost a decade on that. I feel like Jane Eyre and more Bronte works would be a more enjoyable and relaxing? So I’m leaning in that direction, but we’ll see…

  11. as someone that recently got the eye surgery, I can’t recommend it enough. Mine was 6000 USD so even more expensive but so worth it! go for it! it’s truly life changing and I wonder why I waited so long.
    love your running goal. no race, not for show, just for yourself.
    I’m not very good keeping track of goals I don’t look at them after I put them down. so maybe I should think of some other way to motivate me.

  12. What a wonderful list! I loved reading your goals and it gave me great ideas for mine. I like the idea of adding a few more mid year. I didn’t do a great job with my 2022 for 2023 list so maybe this would help?

    Make a new friend—what a sweet and interesting goal! Maybe you and this future friend will run that 10k together?

  13. This is a wonderful list!! So many good things and feels generally do-able yet will be very productive and leave you feeling accomplished (hopefully 😉 ). I really haven’t decided yet if I’m going to make a big goals list like this again this year. I kind of feel like I totally failed at my 2022 goals, so maybe I should just roll everything forward and keep plugging away over there. lol. Same with my Reading List for 2022 that I made- I listed 20 books, split up by quarter, and I only read 6 of them!! UGH. I did read some other books that were not on my list, though. I just wasn’t really vigilant about making sure I had those books on my list actually available to me (requested from library, etc.), and I also ended up just wanting to read some other ones (like Tranquility by Tuesday- wasn’t on my list, but I wanted to fit it in.) I don’t read really that much in general because I just don’t seem to have a lot of time for it right now, so that plays into it as well.

    I’m impressed you have your goals list all finalized and it’s not even Christmas yet! Way to go! I typically don’t even think about that stuff until after Christmas. I like to carve out some time to sit down alone during the window between Christmas and New Years to think over all of that.

    1. Yes to all of this! Productive, doable…and also will be satisfying to check off.
      I would love to carve out a few hours next week to work on setting up my planner for 2023. We have company coming at the end of the week and some other commitments scheduled, but I’d love to get some things down on paper and start planning for 2023. I can’t believe we’re only a little over a week away from a new year?!

  14. I love your list and I’m going to borrow a few.
    *Parent tracking time: This is a great idea. Although I’ve seen my parents more this past year than in the past, it’s still quite infrequent since we’re on different U.S. coasts. I would like to make more of an effort to call them and if I keep loose track of the calls/visits, I think that will help prompt me to not let weeks go by without calling. My Mom got a life update of mine through a blog post, which I didn’t mean to happen! That was a wake-up call that it had been awhile.
    * I LOVE the TBD goals. I really want to cultivate my long-term professional development, which I realize means putting in the short-term work for long-term results. By having some built-in check-in points, I can really tailor my focus throughout the year.
    *Finally, I had LASIK in 2011. I am so happy that I did it. I was about to purchase some expensive eyewear at work and I decided the procedure would pay for itself in a few years. I remember asking what would happen if I moved my eye. I was reassured that the target acquisition/emergency shut-off was the same technology used in fighter jets so very, very fast. But the ophthalmologist said, “But I wouldn’t recommend that you move your eye and test it out.” After I went home, I went to sleep since I think I was given one percocet and one benzo. Well, halfway through the nap, I woke up and felt like Will Farrell in Old School when he was tranquilized near the pool. My eyes hurt so much and I was so out of it, I just stumbled around my apartment until I fell back asleep. When I woke up, I was fine and actually went out that evening. Which, when I told my ophthalmologist the next day, he said, “I would not have recommended that.” Even with all this ridiculousness, the long-term effects have been wonderful. I couldn’t even see the E at the top of the Snellen chart and now I just open my eyes and see?!?!?! It is still wondrous to me, even so many years later. I highly recommend it!

  15. I have heard of SO many people getting LASIK lately – two friends in my book club just had it done recently! One of my goals for 2023 is to research my options because I need to know if it’s even possible for me and what the cost will be. I believe one of my friends paid about $3,000, so if I bump up my FSA contributions next year, I may be able to swing it! I’m excited to hear about how everything goes for you! I’ve heard nothing but really good things about it.

    I’m still working on my 2023 goals, but I really love setting aside 3 goals to be added later! That’s so smart.

    1. Same here – all good reports! I know it would have been ideal for me to get it earlier in life (just better bang for buck), but it was too much money (and then they recommend you wait for a while before/after pregnancy because of eye changes). So…better late than never and I think I would LOVE the result. I truly hate wearing glasses.

  16. I love your list, esp. that you left a couple of spots open for “goals” that might come up during the year… I am awfully late with planning ahead for 2023, but I will also make my “things I’d like to do in 2023” list sometime this month (I hope). I should definitely put “make a (local) friend” on my list… I have so many people that are dear to me, but none of them lives close by *sadface* where to meet new people??

    1. It can be so hard to make friends as an adult. I hope you find someone nearby that fills the gap left by being so far away from those closest to you.
      Trying some sort of group lesson (in-person) is a great way to start, but this has been so fraught with the pandemic. I have to admit that most of my adult friendships have come because of having kiddos – meeting people at Mom-and-Tot groups, youth activities, etc.

  17. I do have an abundant list of things I want to do, achieve, experience. They all revolve around my word of the year MAGIC. for January though I am giving myself a break and not dive head over heel into them. But I am starting to build a habit of a morning walk every Wednesday.
    Whiting you all the best with your goals. You do list some really good ones. I love the solo date with your kids.

  18. A month after you wrote this… I am still going bonkers trying to get everything with a deadline (e.g., class-related stuff, my annual review) done. So I am taking San’s and Stephany’s advice and… not doing goals just yet. My year will (hopefully) get off to a cleaner, calmer start in February. So that’s when I hope to actually get back “to myself” as I say, and write down the things I have in my head. But having YOUR goals as a template is awesome, because they are do-able, and you also left room to be flexible. I love it! Can’t wait to see how the year goes. <3

    1. Thanks Anne. And here’s hoping February gives you a chance to take a deep breath and relax a little bit (wishful thinking?!).

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